Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Sunday, November 30

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.
—Luke 1: 26-27

Today, the first Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning of a new year on the Christian liturgical calendar. We have come full cycle.

First, we prepare for the Word made flesh who we greet on Christmas day. Then, we begin moving towards Lent. Next we relive Holy Week and celebrate Easter. Then we make way for Pentecost.

And finally we reap the blessings of all we have received and share them in what is curiously known as “Ordinary time.”

When Gary Gunderson and I  wrote the book Leading Causes of Life, we tried to be true to the title. Like you, we already knew the leading causes of death. And, perhaps like you, we had grown weary of studying death, no matter how accurate our autopsies might be. We wanted to trace the causes of life. A few months later, it struck us that each of the causes has a season on the Christian calendar.

Advent speaks of God's connection with humankind.

Lent is about the search for coherence. During Lent we cut back the excesses of our lives and try to replace them with truth. It is hard work, this search for coherence . . . but it leads to a world of meaning.

Easter gives us the voice of hope. Good Friday makes sure we do not confuse hope with wishful thinking.

Pentecost announces the arrival of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus  predicted. Suddenly, the church is born and receives the gift of agency.

We live through ordinary time as extraordinarily blessed creatures.

Next year, we will go through the same cycle and once again we will connect, find meaning, harness the gift of agency, renew our hope and live a life of blessing.

Throughout it all we trust in God's abiding presence, in truths that have the power to guide our lives, in our capacity to act and react, in the quiet but strong voices of hope, and in the power of blessing.

In this new year, may the God of Life bless you and keep you.